Advocates Help Win Increases for
Key Programs in Spending Bill
Omnibus Includes Funding Boosts for
Block Grants, Prevention Programs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (December 21, 2011)--An omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week (H.R. 2055) includes increases for mental health and addiction services, as well as for biomedical research.
The legislation provides a nearly $40 million increase for the Mental Health Block Grant, the first funding increase for the Block Grant in close to a decade. The bill also provides close to a $20 million increase for the Substance Abuse Block Grant. These increases are critical to the behavioral health community because they come at a time when states have cut back funding for mental health care by nearly $3.4 billion over the last three years.
"Our affiliates and advocates should be encouraged that they played a role in helping to reverse proposals to cut funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by over 8 percent (Center for Mental Health Services by nearly 25 percent) and pushing our Hill champions to pass a bill that provides these needed increases to the states, as well as increases for prevention and behavioral health integration, SAMHSA's top priorities," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America.
The bill also provided a nominal increase for important research activities at the National Institutes of Health. It is worth noting that key consumer programs such as the Consumer and Family Network Grants and the Consumer TA Centers were not cut.
The funding package passed the House by a vote of 296-121, with 149 Democrats and 147 Republicans supporting the measure (35 Democrats and 86 Republicans opposed it), while the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 67-32.